ROCHESTER, Minn. (AUGUSTANA) – The Augustana softball team advances to the NSIC Championship game slated for Saturday and 2 p.m. after a pair of wins on Friday. The Vikings are now 45-8 on the year. The Vikings handled St. Cloud State 5-4, before besting Winona State, 3-0, to advance into the NSIC Championship game.
This is the fourth-consecutive season Augustana will be playing for the NSIC Championship title.
Game One: Augustana 5, 4 St. Cloud State
Both teams had the bats working early as St. Cloud jumped out to a three-run lead in the top of the first inning after Sydney Trees’ homered to deep center, scoring Raven Vanden Langenberg.818
Augustana would immediately go to work to trim the Huskies’ lead thanks to a Mary Pardo leadoff homerun over the left field fence. After an Abby Lien walk, Torri Chute and Delaney Young would deliver back-to-back singles for the Vikings. With the bases loaded, Gracey Brink would draw a walk, scoring Lien. AU would leave the bases loaded and go into the top of the second trailing 3-2.
In the bottom of the second, Liz Dierks would get on base via a single to third. Dierks’ stay at first would be short-lived as Lien stepped to the plate at the next at-bat striking a double, scoring Dierk. A Chute walk would place runners at first and second. A grounder to shortstop from Young would cause a Huskies error, allowing Lien to score and give the Vikings their first lead of the game, at 4-3.
In the top of the fourth, the Huskies would even things out. Pinkowski would triple to left, scoring Haley McFarlane from first after she was hit by a pitch.
The game would remain tied going into the bottom of the seventh. Brink would single to lead off the inning and advance to second on a Kennedy Buckman groundout. Bergen Lindner would step to the plate to pinch-hit. Lindner would walk it off for the Vikings with a single to center field to bring home Brink.
Amber Elliott had the complete game and collected her 18th win of the year. She ended the game with a season-high twelve strikeouts.
The win advanced Augustana, facing Winona State with a trip to the NSIC Championship game on the line. Winona bested Minnesota State Mankato earlier Friday and won 8-2.
Game Two: Augustana 3, Winona State 0
Augustana would strike first in the bottom of the first after a fielder’s choice by the Warriors allowing Gracey Brink to cross the plate after reaching on a single, advancing to second on a steal, and moving to third on a Torri Chute single.
Mary Pardo would do what Mary Pardo does in the bottom of the fifth, launching her twenty-sixth home run of the season to double the Vikings lead 2-0.
The Warriors would look for their response on the top of the sixth, with Kayla Kerkman singling to left field, after Abbie Hlas drew a walk. After a passed ball, both runners would advance to scoring positions. The Vikings defense would get the final two outs needed to escape the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Augustana would get the final run of the game. After a drawn walk by Chute, Delaney Young singled to center to advance her to third. Brink would reach on a fielder’s choice, which allowed Chute to cross home plate, pushing the lead to 3-0.
The Warriors would make things interesting in the top of the final inning. Two runners reached base on back-to-back singles with no outs recorded. The Vikings defense was remarkable all game and were called upon again to make a play and came away with two. first, a four-six-three double play and the final groundout to punch their ticket to Saturday’s 2 p.m. championship.
Augustana awaits the winner of the loser side bracket for a Saturday 2 p.m. matchup for the hardware. The Vikings will only need one win to claim the title, while their opponents will need two wins to claim the title. Full coverage of the contest can be found at GoAugie.com/Live.